Claudine Gay inaugurated as Harvard's 30th president Sept. 29. Photo courtesy of Harvard Crimson.

Harvard University inaugurated its 30th president, Claudine Gay, in a weekend filled with festivities and fanfare. In her inauguration speech on Sept. 29, the Haitian American democracy and political participation scholar focused on the importance of having courage in pursuing the responsibilities of creating better societies. 

From the day she was named as the next president of the prestigious institution in December 2022, Gay, 53, has invoked her Haitian upbringing in her success. On Friday, Gay praised her parents’ courage in her speech — Courage to be Harvard — along with that of others whose actions have shaped lives and futures.


Claudine Gay, known for leadership and scholarly writings, was inaugurated as president of Harvard University with a weekend of festivities.

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J.O. Haselhoef is the author of “Give & Take: Doing Our Damnedest NOT to be Another Charity in Haiti.” She co-founded "Yonn Ede Lot" (One Helping Another), a nonprofit that partnered with volunteer groups in La Montagne ("Lamontay"), Haiti from 2007-2013. She is a 2022 Fellow for the Columbia School of Journalism's Age Boom Academy. She writes and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.